Trump's hiring of son-in-law doesn't violate nepotism laws

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Jan 21 President Donald Trump can hire his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as a senior White House adviser without breaking federal anti-nepotism laws, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Some legal experts had raised concerns that Kushner's appointment violated a 1967 law that was meant to curtail nepotism in the federal government.

The DOJ's statement echoes the position held by Kushner's lawyer earlier this week, who argued that that Kushner's appointment to his father-in-law's administration "is clearly lawful" under president's authority.

This opinion is based on a law passed in 1978 which gives the president the authority to appoint White House officials, overriding the nepotism law.

Officials in the US Justice Department concluded that there would be no violation of anti-nepotism laws if President Trump includes his son-in-law as a member of his White House staff.

Their efforts were backed by a career Justice Department attorney, who prepared the department's memo and agreed that the President "enjoys an unusual degree of freedom when choosing his personal staff".

The Justice Department issued its 14-page opinion on Friday, according to the Justice Department's Office of Legal Council.

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Koffsky further explained, however, that Congress has strict regulations on the conduct of federal officials and that there is a set of legal restrictions is pertinent to any appointee to the White House staff.

The memo was written by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Daniel Koffsky.

Koffsky noted that it makes sense that the law would allow the hiring of family members given that no law could prohibit the president from taking informal advice from his relatives.

"Consequently, even if the anti-nepotism statute prevented the president from employing relatives in the White House as advisors, he would remain free to consult those relatives as private citizens", it said. Kushner's appointment as a senior adviser means he would have to comply with those rules.

Kushner will resign from his positions as chief executive of the Kushner Companies and as publisher of the New York Observer newspaper and divest from any interests in the New York Observer, Thrive Capital, the 666 Fifth Avenue office building in midtown Manhattan and any foreign investments.

During the transition, Trump aides and lawyers worked to find a legal loophole around the nepotism ruling in order to bring Kushner into the West Wing.